While the seizure of Backpage.com’s domain and website by U.S. federal authorities dominated the news stateside, overseas there was another classified-ads domain and website seized by an international consortium of law-enforcement authorities.
Visiting Cracker.com on Friday led to visitors facing a domain-seizure notice. Logos of Europol and the like rotated on a banner on top of the notice, which read:
Operation In Our Sites – Project TransAtlantic VIII is a coordinated effort by U.S., European, South American and Asian law enforcement agencies targeting websites and their operators that sell counterfeit goods.
The seals included those of U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, US IPR, Europol, Belgium Cybersquad, Belgium Economie, Colombia Diosy Patria, Colombia Policial, Czech Republic’s CLO-Douane, Denmark Politi, France Douanes, Hong Kong’s Customs & Excise, National Tax and Customs Administration of Hungary, Italy, Norway Okokrim, Portugal ASAE, Romania IGPR, Serbia, Spain Policia, Spain CGPJ and London Police.
The nameservers had been changed to the following:
Europol also provided a “Stay Smart in Cyberspace” video on the now-seized website.
Cracker.com has been one of the top 10,000 websites in terms of worldwide traffic, holding the reputation of being a source for escorts in Malta, Dubai, and East Asian cities such as Hong Kong.
Its localized site in Australia, where it is among the top 600 sites most visited websites in the country — http://cracker.com.au — was also down, though with no notice of seizure posted. The nameservers were showing those of the domain registry, however: